Hello my fellow book nerds! Today I have something very near and dear to me to share with you all and I need your help in spreading the word! If you haven’t heard yet, the amazingly talented Ashley of Nose Graze is working on a new and exciting project!….
That’s right! Ashley is developing a new book community. A place where we can rate, find and converse about books! A site made by us for us, with the sole purpose of providing a space for us bookish folks that fit our needs, wants and wishes! I’ve talked to Ashley about this before and I’m so happy she’s decided to run with it but before we can get anything going we need YOUR help! In order to get LitRate going Ashley has started a KickStarter campaign to help raise the $16,000 dollars needed to get LitRate going. To help reach this goal I’ve invited Ashley over to the blog for an interview to help spread the word and get a few more backers!
Tell us a little about Ashley!
Hello!!! I’m a book blogger, reader, gamer, and a web developer/designer. Shortly after joining the book blogging world, I started creating all kinds of plugins and themes for fellow book bloggers to use! A few months ago I married the man of my dreams, who’s an even better developer than I am! Together I think we make a pretty kick-ass development duo.
How long have you been blogging? What’s your favorite part about it?
I’ve been blogging for about two and a half years now. How time flies! I think my favourite part is being able to connect to people who are just like me. In my personal life I don’t have a ton of friends, largely because I don’t know people who have the same interests I do (like reading!). But being part of the book blogging world connects me to people who love reading and blogging just as much as I do, and that’s amazing!
Considering you’re the genius behind Creative Whim (any UBB users out there?!!) what do you truly see in store LitRate?
I think the UBB plugin has been so successful for two reasons:
1) I listen to what people want and regularly implement their ideas.
2) I provide quick and easy support that people are always praising.
You can sell the most awesome product in the world but if you don’t listen to your buyers or don’t help them out, you’re not going to get very far. I think this can easily be applied to LitRate because it’s where Goodreads is failing. We don’t want to make LitRate for you guys, we want to make it with you guys… almost like a big community project.
The goal for the KickStarter is 16,000 dollars, which in my opinion is a whole lot of money lol! But this is only enough to help finance the first year right? What happens after that first year?
I know, $16,000 is a lot! But that’s nothing compared to the quote we got from another company for $3,800 per month (about $50,000 per year if you include their “setup fee”). Now that was insane! But the company offering us data for $16,000 is still a terrific option and they’ve been very helpful and responsive in their communications with us.
But yes, this $16,000 pays for a one year subscription to their book data. That means we have to come up with this same amount of money again year after year! That’s a very scary and daunting task. We plan on putting a couple advertisements on the site in order to help pay for this. But it’s extremely difficult for us to judge how much money that will earn us. Will that even be enough? Only time will tell. But it’s very important to us that we limit the ads to no more than two per page and make sure they’re not obtrusive (no video/audio/popup ads).
Most people are going to immediately compare LitRate to Goodreads. Regardless of if they mean to or not. To get that out of the way, what will set LitRate apart from other sites with similar ideas? (Goodreads, Shelfari, BookLikes, Literary, etc.)
The first thing that I love to brag about is that we already have a search engine that’s better than what Goodreads has! And it took my husband less than a day to set that up (hah!). Goodreads can be extremely frustrating in the way that “stop words” like “the” and “by” can completely ruin a search. Let’s do a little test exercise. Go to Goodreads and search for “heir of fire by sarah j maas”. We know that book exists, right? But if you search for that exact phrase, you get zero results:
But obviously that book exists!! It’s because we have the word “by” in there. It completely ruins the search! We solve this by stripping out all “stop words” (like ‘by’, ‘and’, ‘for’, ‘the’, etc.) from searches.
We also plan on adding more features that the other sites don’t offer, such as: the ability for you to customize your site experience (by selecting a personal colour scheme for the site), having shelves/tags that are private, having reviews that are private (or only viewable by friends), allowing half stars, reinventing the way discussions are held on the site (an alternative for ‘Groups’, which I don’t think are the best way to go about it), and we’ll have some cool achievements/ranks/titles that users can unlock for fun!
We’re also playing around with fun new ways for discovering books. Here’s one mockup I came up with that kind of uses the same idea as BookBlogging.net for searching the database:
Once the project is funded (because I am convinced that it will be!) I see you have an estimated launch of January 2015. What are some of the milestones you hope LitRate will hit within that first quarter of 2015. Not financially, because totally not our business, but number of users? Books catalogued? Etc.
Ohh you hit me with a tough question!! I have to admit, I sat here for a good 15 minutes thinking about this. Projections are hard!
Well, we’re hoping to have over 10 million books in our database at launch. If we go through with this book data deal, the company will be filling our database with about 13 million books right off the bat. So that’s definitely a good start!
I’m not sure if this is ambitious or not, but it would be cool if we could hit 1,000 members in the first week or two. I’m roughly basing that off the launch of BookBlogging.net, which saw like 300 members in the first day. I’m hoping LitRate will have a similar impact right after launch, but even more so since it appeals to a wider variety of people. Of course, I expect things to slow down a little after launch, but it would be pretty awesome if we could grow to somewhere around the 3-5,000 members mark in the first quarter.
To put things in perspective, Goodreads reached 650,000 members in its first year. Although, that was with very little competition. It’s going to be harder for LitRate, since we don’t just have to get people to join; we have to get people to move. That’s significantly harder!
Ashley I fully and truthfully believe you can make this into something useful, fun and amazing for all book lovers. Mostly because I know you’re passionate about this, talented and you really do have the best perspective for a site like this. With that said I encourage everyone to at least check out the KickStarter campaign! There’s a lot of cool and important information and even if you can only back 5 dollars that’s 5 dollars closer to the overall goal. And if you really just can’t spare the money right now help spread the word! FaceBook it! Instagram it! Tweet it!! I’ve started a hashtag #SupportLitRate and even just a few tweets can help reach others who are able to help back and support LitRate!